Long Distance Caregiving: How to Help Aging Parents from Far Away
Living far away from senior loved ones can make the need for help at home easier to overlook. In fact, many adult children of older parents frequently do not realize that Dad and Mom need assistance until they arrive home for a visit or spend a longer period of time together. If you are long distance caregiving for senior loved ones, it’s essential to have a plan set up for crises and care.
The home care services specialists in Kennewick and the surrounding area at Home Care Solutions have put together these helpful strategies to assist long distance family caregivers.
Plan in Advance
When you’re not able to simply drive across town to help, it is imperative to have family discussions about the “what ifs” that could potentially arise with your loved ones, such as:
- Living situation preferences based on severity and who is involved – consider some situations for debate; for example, a fractured hip requiring a rehab stay.
- How will you identify when “it’s time” to make a big change? What would this look like?
- Monetary considerations in providing care, such as how much work can family members miss? What outside financial support might be obtainable?
- Advance directives for decision-making: be sure everything is in order and retain a copy for yourself.
Evaluate Along the Way
When you cannot see your senior loved ones every day, it can be tempting to neglect the often-uncomfortable business of evaluating health and wellness in favor of simply enjoying each other’s company. However, it’s important to routinely take into consideration and assess how your senior loved ones are really doing.
- Identify the RN who is dealing with your loved ones’ physician and remain in communication with that person.
- Be sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your parents’ physicians’ offices so that you may speak openly with the medical experts, and also make sure you’ve got one for yourself.
- Have routine telephone and/or video conferencing contact with your senior loved ones to check in and help them solve any problems.
- Maintain a list of any informal local resources: friends, neighbors, and other family members who can be part of your aging parents’ network of support. Remain in touch with this network and let them know how to contact you and that you encourage their calls.
Establish When to Travel and When to Stay Home
Issues will undoubtably develop, perhaps at a moment’s notice. You can’t travel for each concern, so decide ahead of time when you will travel and when you will utilize other resources to provide help.
- Ask if this is a genuine medical or care emergency. As one part (not all) of the decision-making, ask a physician, social worker, or nurse for more detailed information and his/her suggestion on whether you should travel in.
- Could someone else locally assess the issue at hand or eyeball the situation for you?
- It’s perfectly acceptable to go there in order to place your mind at ease as well. If staying home and having to worry is going to be less effective for you, then it may be best to go.
Consider Partnering with Home Care Solutions
Hiring a professional in-home senior care provider not only results in exceptional care, it can also give long distance family members a greater feeling of peace and connection. At Home Care Solutions, our professional care providers have specialized home health training in Spokane and surrounding areas and are able to:
- Evaluate the circumstances
- Identify gaps, problems, resources and strengths
- Track health, nutrition, activity, etc.
- Screen and arrange for other services and support
- Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
- Communicate regularly with family members
- And so much more
If your senior loved ones are in need of home care services in Kennewick or the surrounding area, reach out to the caregivers at Home Care Solutions at (509) 627-8575. We treat your family like our very own.